I met Cassandra Overby in 2013 when she began producing articles for Washington Trails magazine. A talented and energetic writer, Cassandra revels in combining her passions for hiking and traveling with sharing the stories of others. One of her key interests is documenting the experiences of people who have overcome adversity by discovering the outdoors. In addition to this, as well as writing for Northwest Travel and Life magazine, she is currently developing a new guidebook: Exploring Europe on Foot. Based on her own adventures abroad, this informative guide will assist readers in planning and carrying out their own dreams of adventure overseas.
What inspired you to start writing about hiking?
Overby: I was working as a copywriter and was tired of paying my dues by writing about boring corporate things. Seriously, I wrote about things like AA batteries and wheelchair ramps for stairs! I figured I’d try my hand at writing about something I really loved—hiking. Things got even better when I threw travel into the mix. I remember hiking a trail in Yakima, one that I was going to profile for an active weekend feature in Washington Trails magazine, and just thinking to myself over and over, “This is by far the coolest job on earth.”
What is your favorite part about hiking and trail writing?
Overby: I love the heartwarming stories that can come from the people I meet out there—trail angels, folks with quirky personalities, people daring to do really challenging things. This makes me think of a woman I met a couple of years ago, Beautiful Existence. She was attempting to try every outdoor sport (including hiking) that REI offers gear for. How cool is that? I love people with big goals, especially big goals that pertain to the outdoors.
What do you hope your readers will gain from your works?
Overby: I hope they will understand that the trail isn’t always about nature. A lot of times, it’s about the people you meet out there and the local culture you experience along the way. This is especially true in Europe, where you can hike everything from WWII battlefields to castles from the 13th century to family-owned vineyards.
What do you think would most improve people’s hiking experiences?
Overby: I think people would really benefit by letting themselves hike their own hike, without feeling pressure to be “hardcore.” It’s okay if you can’t—or simply don’t want to—hike 15 hard miles uphill in a given day. And it’s okay if you love hiking but don’t like spending the night outside and roughing it. I’m a big fan of village-to-village hiking! Stick to what excites you, own it and make it happen.
What is your advice for beginning hikers and travelers?
Overby: Don’t lose the wonder and awe you feel now at all of these new, amazing things you’re seeing and experiencing for the first time, from glimpsing your first alpenglow to spending your first night in an alpine hut. Don’t let hiking and traveling become “normal” things that you take for granted. Every day spent outside and exploring is a gift.
What piece of gear do you never hike without?
Overby: In Europe, I hike with a Platypus that’s dedicated to wine I find at stores and vineyards along the trail. I like to have an afternoon wine and cheese hour each day. It’s a nice way to transition from an active day to a restful evening.
Hardly one to sit still, Cassandra Overby keeps herself busy writing, editing and traveling for numerous publications. You can also look forward to Cassandra’s gear reviews here on PCT: Oregon. For more info Cassandra’s many projects, visit her websites, CassandraOverby.com and Explore-On-Foot.com. Check out a few of Cassandra’s favorite stories:
- Hike Up Your Skirts: How Tutus and Trails Make the Best Mother’s Day Tales
- Revolutionize Your Life With an Outdoor Challenge: One Inspiring Woman Shows You How
- Forever on Trail: Lessons From Karen Sykes
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